Bob Ferguson, attorney general of the state of Washington, has filed suit against Altius Management in Nashville, Tennessee under the Consumer Protection Act. The suit involves a Kickstarter by Altius, which raised around $25,000 in 2012 for a set of playing cards and associated products (dice, poker chips) designed by Serbian artist Milan C., but has not shipped any products or refunded any money. Ferguson’s suit was filed on behalf of Washington residents; there were at least 31 backers from the state.
The suit seeks return of the money and fines up to $2000 per backer. There were 810 backers, so if the full amount were applied to all the backers the total fines would be over $1.6 million.
In addition to Altius, the case was filed against Edward J. Polchlepek III, who described himself as "entertainment industry veteran Ed Nash" in the Kickstarter.
This is the first state enforcement action against a crowdfunded project that didn’t deliver. "Washington will not tolerate crowdfunding theft," Ferguson said. The case may have a significant impact on crowdfunding, which has become increasingly important for geek culture products (see "Top Ten Hobby Games Business Events of 2013